Green MEP urges Environment Agency to reject acidisation in West Sussex

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, is urging the Environment Agency to reject an application for acidisation at Broadford Bridge. Work has already started at the oil site in West Sussex operated by the UKOG subsidiary, Kimmeridge Gas and Oil Ltd (KOGL). A public consultation on changes to the environmental permit closed on 13 April.

Despite claiming that the rocks are naturally fractured and will not need hydraulic fracturing, the application to vary the permit describes acidising the well before testing. Like fracking, acidisation is a ‘stimulation technique’ used to release oil and gas from unyielding rock such as limestone and sandstone and involves injecting solutions of acids and other chemicals into the ground.

Keith joins CPRE Sussex and local campaigners in calling on the Environment Agency to reject the application.

Responding to the application Keith Taylor, a Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association, said:

“This is yet another example of the oil and gas industry trying to sidestep regulations designed to protect local communities from the worst effects of this inherently risky industry, this time through a loosely worded application to vary existing consent. Acidisation shares many of the negative impacts of fracking: traffic, air pollution, flares, intensive water use, potential drinking water pollution, spills, leaking wells and faults, large volumes of toxic liquid waste and stress on communities. The local community at Broadford Bridge is rightly concerned about the risks posed by acidisation in an area near protected sites and ancient woodland, where the balance of water resources has been assessed by the Environment Agency as “seriously stressed” and the high density of geological faults could lead to the contamination of the region’s surface and groundwater systems.”

“To allow this needless and damaging application to go ahead would not only fly in the face of local public opinion but pose a serious threat to the environment and public health. I am therefore urging the Environment Agency to refuse the application and support moves to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”